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Hip-hop entered the Senate chamber of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday night, with Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida dropping references to “modern-day poets” Wiz Khalifa and Jay-Z during a filibuster by one of his Republican colleagues over the government’s drone policy.
A diehard rap fan who counts Tupac among his favorite artists, Rubio was yielded the floor by Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who had been speaking for hours to block a vote on President Barack Obama‘s pick of John O. Brennan for CIA chief.
Paul’s objective: to draw attention to the question of whether the Obama administration would ever deploy unmanned aerial drones to kill Americans believed to be terrorists.
“It’s an easy question. It should have been a resounding, an unequivocal, ‘No,'” Paul said at one point. “The president’s response? He hasn’t killed anyone yet. We’re supposed to be comforted by that.”
Rubio took the dais and began by referencing Khalifa as he noted that he was happy to be in D.C. rather than back home.
“Let me begin by quoting a modern-day poet. His name is Wiz Khalifa. He has a song called ‘Work Hard Play Hard,'” Rubio said with a smile on his face and laughter in the chamber. “You look at the time, I think it’s a time when many of our colleagues expected to be home, back in the home state playing hard, but I’m happy we’re here still working hard on this issue.”
He then hypothesized about what the nature of the debate — and the question of drone use on American citizens — would be like if George W. Bush were president. Naturally, Jay-Z came to Rubio’s mind.
“That takes me back to another modern-day poet by the name of Jay-Z. One of the songs that he wrote, ‘It’s funny when seven days can change, it was all good just a week ago,'” he said, quoting the track “A Week Ago.”
He continued, “Well, I don’t know if it was all good a week ago, but I can tell you that things have really changed. Because if the president was George W. Bush and this was a question being asked of him and his response was the silence we’ve gotten, we’d have a very different scenario here tonight.”
Rubio has made his love of hip-hop known before, telling GQ that Tupac Shakur’s “Killuminati” is one of his favorite songs and putting Sugarhill Gang, Kanye West and fellow Floridian Flo Rida on his official Spotify playlist.
View the senator’s remarks below.
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